For the past decade, there’s been a lot of buzz about how a daily glass of alcohol, particularly wine, may be health-promoting. It’s based on the idea that the polyphenols found in wine, like resveratrol, protect and guard your heart.
And it does have some basis in fact, since several studies have shown a slightly higher risk of heart problems for people who never drink alcohol, with some research showing a risk reduction with moderate drinking.
Yet the truth is that while you have that handful of studies on one side, a significant body of research also shows that drinking too much alcohol regularly leads to heart failure.
So, is alcohol another Goldilocks phenomenon, where, as long as you keep your drinking to that “just right” area, you’re not only safe but better off when it comes to your heart?
Well, not according to a new study…
Abnormal heart rhythm
In the largest study of its kind, researchers have reported in the European Heart Journal that just one alcoholic drink per day is enough to raise your risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib) — an abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to stroke and death.
The team studied nearly 108,000 people following up for an average of close to 14 years. And their results show that one drink per day, equivalent to a small (120 ml) glass of wine, a small beer (330 ml) or 40 ml of spirits, is linked to a 16 percent increased risk of developing AFib.
As lead researcher, Professor Renate Schnabel, a consultant cardiologist at the University Heart and Vascular Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf (Germany), puts it, “These findings are important as the regular consumption of alcohol, the ‘one glass of wine a day’ to protect the heart, as is often recommended for instance in the lay press, should probably no longer be suggested without balancing risks and possible benefits for all heart and blood vessel diseases, including atrial fibrillation.”
And the more you drink, the more your risks go up!
Up to two drinks a day was associated with a 28 percent increased risk and this went up to 47 percent for those who consumed more than four.
Now, if you’re wondering why alcohol (even small amounts) and AFib go hand-in-hand, the answer is that even the researchers don’t know.
However, they do point out that previous studies have shown that heavy drinking over a short period of time (we’re looking at you New Year’s Eve!) can trigger ‘holiday heart syndrome’ (an irregular heartbeat brought on by alcohol consumption) in some people.
And for some AFib patients, even drinking a few sips of alcohol can trigger arrhythmia episodes.
So while we don’t know the why, we do know that there’s a direct connection between drinking and heart rhythm abnormalities.
Keeping your heart in rhythm
So if you want to guard your heart against AFib, it’s time to ditch that rule that one glass of wine a day (or any alcohol, for that matter) is ok.
But right about now, you may be thinking, “but what about the polyphenol benefits of red wine?” — like resveratrol. Well, drinking wine isn’t the only way to get resveratrol, and as we’re learning, doesn’t appear to be the healthiest way. If you’re concerned about Afib, try supplementing the heart-healthy nutrient instead.
In addition to avoiding alcohol, a few ways to protect your normal heart rhythm include:
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure
- Keeping your weight in check
- Staying active by walking approximately 30 minutes each day
- Adding a heart-healthy snack of nuts to your daily diet
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To find out about these and more, click here to read our free report!
AFIB AND HEART FAILURE PROTECTION YOU CAN SNACK ON — Easy Health Options
PREVENTION IS KEY IN AVOIDING ATRIAL FIBRILLATION — Easy Health Options
THE TRICK TO KEEPING YOUR HEART BEATING RIGHT — Easy Health Options